MasterCard CEO Talks Financial Inclusion at the China Development Forum

In a speech delivered at the China Development Forum, Ajay Banga, president and CEO of MasterCard, recognized the growth of financial access within the country over the past 30 years and highlighted the critical role financial inclusion plays in the continued development of the Chinese economy.

This is the fourth year that Banga has attended the forum at which China’s top policymakers, scholars and over 500 global leaders share insights on the country’s economic and social development.

“While the risks of not addressing financial inclusion are profound, the benefits are undeniable,” said Banga. “If it’s done well, it can help grow an economy that’s more equitable, sustainable and inclusive.”

In his remarks, Banga discussed financial inclusion in four ways:

  1. Everyone Can Benefit – Without access to financial services, large numbers of people will be left behind and not fully achieve their personal goals and contribute to the broader economy.
  2. Tools Have to Be Used – The regular use of financial services is as important as the access to them. As consumers become more familiar with these resources, governments can deliver social benefits in an easier and more convenient method.
  3. Momentum Is Contagious – The fundamental step of financial inclusion is providing consumers with an identity through their account. From there, each step they take will build on the previous one – paying bills, building a credit history, borrowing and investing.
  4. Partnerships Pay – The fastest and most efficient to get to financial inclusion is through public-private partnerships. While governments represent the single largest flow of money to its citizens, individual businesses deliver the technology and know-how to activate the broader concepts.

At the forum, MasterCard released a whitepaper offering insights on how China can sustain its economic growth through financial inclusion. “Creating Higher Levels of Financial Inclusion in China” highlights examples from across the globe where new technologies from both banks and other companies have created both the environment and solutions to help the average citizen thrive.

The World Bank has made financial inclusion one of its core topics given its implications for reducing poverty and boosting shared prosperity. As a technology company, MasterCard is uniquely positioned to help drive financial inclusion, drawing on the tools and resources already in use across the developing and developed world.